Do you know how to say these strange place names correctly?

PUBLISHED: 13:51 03 February 2020 | UPDATED: 16:20 03 February 2020

Do you know how local pronounce Hunstanton? Picture: Chris Bishop

Do you know how local pronounce Hunstanton? Picture: Chris Bishop


Two Norfolk spots have been named among the most mispronounced places in the UK.

Stiffkey is famous for its marshes, and its difficult to pronouce name. Picture: David ThackerStiffkey is famous for its marshes, and its difficult to pronouce name. Picture: David Thacker

But even many Nelson's County residents may not have heard of one of the 'correct' pronunciations, in the analysis produced by vehicle leasing firm

Happisburgh and Hunstanton both made it onto the list of 15 much-mispronounced place names. But while Happisburgh (pronounced Hays-bruh) is a well-know pitfall for people unaccustomed to the Norfolk dialect, their take on the correct way to say Hunstanton is perhaps more obscure - Hun-ston.

But Keith Skipper, Cromer-based author and broadcaster who has written extensively about the Norfolk dialect, said the linguistic shortcut was not so uncommon.

Mr Skipper said: "When I was young we called it Hunston. Along with Sunny Hunny, it's a well-known and well-used abbreviation."

Happisburgh has another difficult to pronouce name. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYHappisburgh has another difficult to pronouce name. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Mr Skipper said there were many surprises to be found amid Norfolk place names, and there were even some which were commonly thought to have a strange pronunciation that did not.

He said: "What's interesting with Happisburgh is that there's also a sandbank off shore called Haisborough Sands, which is spelt more like it is said.

"I remember when David Cameron was prime minister and he came up to Stiffkey and said "I've heard you called it Stew-key", but that's only when you're talking about Stewkey cockles.

"I think we have our own pronunciation puzzles.

It's part of the Norfolk preoccupation with doing different. Why should we do the same thing as everywhere else?

"It adds to the fun and gives a bit of colour for locals and for newcomers alike."

Marylebone in London (which is said Mar-lee-bone instead of the more commonly pronounced Ma-ree-lee-bone) tops the list of baffling place names.

Tim Alcock, from the car leasing firm, said: "The English language can be challenging at best. Not only do we have words that are spelled and pronounced the same but have different meanings - read, bank, bat and bear are good examples - to complicate things further, some words contain heaps of letters that just aren't needed.

"You see this a lot with place names like Leominister, which might as well be spelt Lemster, and Happisburgh, which sounds more like Hays-bruh, rendering the majority of the word useless.

"In order to prevent confusion, we've listed 15 places around the UK that are most often mispronounced, so that drivers can travel with ease and as little embarrassment as possible."

15 UK towns that are often mispronounced

1. Marylebone (London)

Wrong: Ma-ree-lee-bone

Right: Mar-lee-bone

2. Teignmouth (Devon)

Wrong: Tane-mouth

Right: Tin-muth

3. Bicester (Oxfordshire)

Wrong: Bi-ses-ter

Right: Bis-ter

4. Hunstanton (Norfolk)

Wrong: Hun-stan-ton

Right: Hun-ston

5. Cholmondeley (Cheshire)

Wrong: Chol-mon-de-lee

Right: Chum-lee

6. Godmanchester (Cambridgeshire)

Wrong: God-man-ches-ter OR Gum-ster

Right: God-munch-ester

7. Southwell (Nottinghamshire)

Wrong: South-well

Right: Suth-ul

8. Magdalen College (Oxford/Cambridge)

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Wrong: Mag-de-lain

Right: Maud-lin

9. Leominister (Herefordshire)

Wrong: Lee-o-min-ster

Right: Lemster

10. Shrewsbury (Shropshire)

Wrong: Shrews-bury

Right: Shroos-bree

11. Happisburgh (Norfolk)

Wrong: Happ-is-bruh

Right: Hays-bruh

12. Gloucester (Gloucestershire)

Wrong: Glos-es-ter

Right: Glos-ter

13. Belvoir Castle (Grantham, Leicestershire)

Wrong: Bel-vwar Castle

Right: Beaver Castle

14. Ruislip (Greater London)

Wrong: Roo-i-slip

Right: Ry-slip

15. Gateacre (Liverpool)

Wrong: Gate-acre

Right: Gatt-a-ker

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